The Superdome hovers like a giant bronze hubcap between the elevated I-10 freeway and downtown’s skyscrapers. The immense indoor stadium, which seats more than 73,200, has hosted NCAA Final Four basketball games, presidential conventions, the Rolling Stones (largest indoor concert in history), Pope John Paul II and seven Super Bowls.
On New Year’s Day, the college-football Sugar Bowl is played here and in the fall this is the home turf of the New Orleans Saints.
The Superdome gained notoriety in 2005 when it was designated a ‘refuge of last resort’ during Hurricane Katrina. Some 25,000 to 30,000 people huddled under the dome as Katrina’s winds blew off part of the roof. Power went out and food and water supplies were quickly depleted as people lived in squalor and waited nearly a week for buses to carry them out of the flooded city. Initial unconfirmed reports of rape, riot and murder within the Dome have been debunked. In all, six people died inside the Superdome (one apparent suicide, one overdose and the rest from natural causes, mainly elderly or infirm who suffered from pre-existing conditions), plus several more in the immediate vicinity.